In a victory for common sense, the trading behavior of company executives, directors, and large shareholders in the stocks of firms they’re registered “insiders” at have been proven profitable to monitor by both academic studies and (more importantly) the experience of your fellow professional investors.

Below are lists of the top 10 mainly open-market insider purchases and sales filed at the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday, March 5, 2013 as ranked by dollar value.

Please note, however, that these are factual lists, not buy and sell recommendations. Dollar value is only one metric to assess the importance of an insider transaction, and, frankly, often not even the most important metric that determines if an insider transaction is significant.

In insider purchases, Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC), one of the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas exploration and production companies, bought $24,499,986 worth of midstream energy assets company Western Gas (NYSE:WES), of which it is a Beneficiary Owner. At insurance holding company United Insurance (NASDAQ:UIHC), Director Gregory Branch bought $523,000 worth of company stock. Bennett Johnston, a former senator from Louisiana and an advisory director for mineral exploration company Freeport-McMoRan Copper Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX), bought $503,614 worth of company stock. At the natural and organic foods chain Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM), Director Stephanie Kugelman bought $250,297 worth of company stock.

In insider sales, Brown and Williamson, a Beneficiary Owner of tobacco company Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI), sold $24,499,986 worth of company stock. Reynolds American was created in 2004 when Brown and Williamson, amidst controversy that it added addictive chemicals to its cigarettes, merged with R.J. Reynolds. There were three sales at professional social networking site LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), with Co-Founder and Director Reid Hoffman selling $14,629,922, Vice President of Products and User Experience Dipchand Nishar selling $7,025,405, and CEO Jeff Weiner selling $6,495,831 worth of company stock. Deer VI Co., a Director and Beneficiary owner of online directory and social networking company Yelp (NYSE:YELP), sold $6,138,008 of company stock. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), sold $4,923,198 of company stock.

At, we find new investment ideas just about every day using these and more intricate insider screens to determine where we should focus our subsequent fundamental and technical analysis. And while stocks don’t (or shouldn’t) move up or down based on insider activity alone, insiders tend to be good indicators of when real stock-moving events like earnings surprises, corporate actions, and new products may be in the offing.

Source: | Key to Insider Title and Trans Type Codes

Source: | Key to Insider Title and Trans Type Codes

Editor’s note: Jonathan Moreland is the founder of Insider Insights and author of “Profit From Legal Insider Trading.”